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Vitamins: What They Do and Where to Get Them
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Vitamins: What They Do, Where to Get Them


Needed For

Good Sources

Vitamin A
(and beta-carotene)

Healthy skin, strong teeth and bones in children, maintaining resistance to infection, normal growth, cell structure, normal eyesight

Fish liver oils, liver, dairy products (vitamin A); carrots, dark-green leafy vegetables (beta-carotene)

Vitamin B-1

Use of carbohydrates in the body, digestion and appetite, normal function of nervous system

Whole grains, brown rice, beans, peas, organ meats, lean pork, seeds/nuts

Vitamin B-2

Normal growth, formation of certain enzymes, cellular oxidation, prevention of sores and swelling of mouth and tongue

Dairy products, meats, poultry, fish, green vegetables (broccoli, turnip greens, asparagus, spinach)

Vitamin B-3

Activities of enzymes in the body's use of carbohydrates and fats, detoxification of pollutants and alcohol, nervous and digestive system functions, production of sex hormones, healthy skin

Lean meats, fish, poultry, whole grains

Vitamin B-6

Use of amino acids in the body, making hemoglobin

Meats, whole grains, wheat germ, brewer's yeast

Vitamin B-12

Nervous system functions, normal development of red blood cells, production of genetic material in cells, effective use of carbohydrates and folic acid from foods

Fish, dairy products, organ meats, beef, pork, eggs


Activities of enzymes needed to break down fatty acids in carbohydrates, ridding the body of wastes from breakdown of proteins

Nuts, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, organ meats, brewer's yeast

Folic acid

Important metabolic processes in the body, growth, reproduction, production of red blood cells

Green leafy vegetables, oranges, beans, peas, rice, eggs, liver

Pantothenic acid

Production of certain hormones, activities of enzymes in the body's use of fats and carbohydrates, use of vitamins, normal growth, nervous system functions

Organ meats, eggs, whole grains, brewer's yeast

Vitamin C
(ascorbic acid)

Healthy skin, bones, teeth, gums, ligaments, and blood vessels; immunity to disease; wound healing; absorption of iron from the digestive tract

Citrus and other fresh fruits, fresh vegetables

Vitamin D

Strong bones; regulation of the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the digestive tract

Fatty fish, liver, eggs, fortified milk

Vitamin E

Normal brain function, formation of red blood cells, maintaining some enzymes, normal cellular structure, protection against pollutants

Whole grains, vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables, eggs

Vitamin K

Blood clotting

Green leafy vegetables, dairy products

See on other sites:


National Institutes of Health - Office of Dietary Supplements
Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets

Updated August 2016
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